Professor Paul G Overton BA, PhD
BA, PhD (Sheffield)
My research interests largely revolve around the Basal Ganglia (and related structures): a group of nuclei implicated in a wide range of normal brain processes and neurological/psychiatric disorders. At present, there are four main strands to my work:
1. Regulation of dopaminergic neurons by sensory afferents.
Work is currently underway to determine the source of sensory information reaching Dopaminergic Neurons, using a combination of in vivo extracellular electrophysiology, neuroanatomical tract tracing, electrochemistry and behavioural analysis. This work will help to determine the function of the dopaminergic `message´ transmitted to other brain areas – which is currently hotly debated.
2. Neuroadaptations which underlie the effects of drugs of abuse.
The present neuroadaptations work focuses upon the effects of cocaine and d-amphetamine on sensory processing (using electrophysiology and neuroimaging). In particular, we are studying the possibility that an interaction between drugs like amphetamine and sensory processing may underlie the generation of cue-induced craving in Drug Addiction and the therapeutic effects in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
3. Basal ganglia structure and function.
We are currently deriving parameter values from neurons in the main input nucleus of the basal ganglia – the neostriatum – using whole cell patch clamping. These will be incorporated into developing Computational Models of these cells and larger scale models of the microcircuitry of the neostriatum. These studies will move us closer to a functional understanding of the the basal ganglia, and inform ongoing work aimed at developing robotic agents embodying basal ganglia circuitry.
4. Basal ganglia and emotional processing
As well as subserving a motor function, the basal ganglia also subserve a cognitive and an emotional function, and basal ganglia damage in Parkinson's disease can lead to specific problems with the processing of Disgust-related information. In order to understand the role of the basal ganglia in emotional processing more fully, I have recently initiated an initial set of investigations into disgust reactions in normal humans. Future studies will compare these data with data from clinical populations.
Please see the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group
- Overton, P.G. [PI], Gluing behaviours together - 'chunking' in the normal brain and its disruption in Parkinson's disease. Rosetrees Trust (£5450; 2018-2019)
- Overton, P.G., Billington, T. [PI] Attention and behaviour: Transforming achievement and social inclusion following primary-secondary school transition. ESRC Collaborative studentship (£65.983; 2016-2020).
- Overton, P.G,., Dommett, E.J. [PI], Singer, B., Byrom, N. Investigating the effects of cardio and non-cardio exercise on adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Rosetrees Trust (£59,282; 2019-2020).
Teaching and administrative duties
I am module organiser for:
- PSY6306 (Fundamentals of Neuroscience)
A list of key publications can be found below. There is also a full list of publications.
- Enhancing the efficacy of 5-HT uptake inhibitors in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Medical Hypotheses, 133. View this article in WRRO
- Self-reported and experimentally induced self-disgust is heightened in Parkinson’s disease : contribution of behavioural symptoms.. PLoS ONE, 14(10). View this article in WRRO
- Revealing a novel nociceptive network that links the subthalamic nucleus to pain processing. eLife, 7. View this article in WRRO
- Chronic amphetamine enhances visual input to and suppresses visual output from the superior colliculus in withdrawal. Neuropharmacology, 138, 118-129. View this article in WRRO
- Repeated intermittent oral amphetamine administration results in locomotor tolerance not sensitization. Journal of Psychopharmacology. View this article in WRRO
- Multisensory integration and ADHD-like traits: Evidence for an abnormal temporal integration window in ADHD. Acta Psychologica, 181, 10-17. View this article in WRRO
- Co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD traits in an adult population. Journal of Attention Disorders. View this article in WRRO
- Nicotine enhances an auditory Event-Related Potential component which is inversely related to habituation. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 31(7), 861-872. View this article in WRRO
- Impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease: Predominant role of psychological determinants. Psychology & Health, 31(12), 1391-1414. View this article in WRRO
- Altered visual processing in a rodent model of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Neuroscience, 303, 364-377.
- Self-affirming trait kindness regulates disgust toward one's physical appearance. Body Image, 12, 98-107.
- Sensory regulation of dopaminergic cell activity: Phenomenology, circuitry and function. Neuroscience, 282, 1-12. View this article in WRRO
- Enhanced visual responses in the superior colliculus in an animal model of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and their suppression by d-amphetamine. Neuroscience, 274, 289-298.
- Cortical regulation of dopaminergic neurons: role of the midbrain superior colliculus.. J Neurophysiol, 111(4), 755-767.
- ENHANCED VISUAL RESPONSES IN THE SUPERIOR COLLICULUS AND SUBTHALAMIC NUCLEUS IN AN ANIMAL MODEL OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE. NEUROSCIENCE, 252, 277-288.
- The effects of focal epileptic activity on regional sensory-evoked neurovascular coupling and postictal modulation of bilateral sensory processing.. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 33(10), 1595-1604. View this article in WRRO
- When disgust leads to dysphoria: a three-wave longitudinal study assessing the temporal relationship between self-disgust and depressive symptoms.. Cogn Emot, 27(5), 900-913.
- Early Postnatal Ethanol Exposure: Glutamatergic Excitotoxic Cell Death During Acute Withdrawal. Neurophysiology, 1-11.
- Segregated anatomical input to sub-regions of the rodent superior colliculus associated with approach and defense.. Front Neuroanat, 6, 9. View this article in WRRO
- Impulse Control Disorders in Parkinson's Disease: A Psychosocial Perspective. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 1-9.
- Neurovascular coupling is brain region-dependent.. Neuroimage, 59(3), 1997-2006.
- Efficient fitting of conductance-based model neurons from somatic current clamp.. J Comput Neurosci, 32(1), 1-24.
- A simple method for characterizing passive and active neuronal properties: application to striatal neurons.. Eur J Neurosci, 34(9), 1390-1405.
- The parabrachial nucleus is a critical link in the transmission of short latency nociceptive information to midbrain dopaminergic neurons.. Neuroscience, 168(1), 263-272.
- DRUG THERAPIES FOR ATTENTIONAL DISORDERS ALTER THE SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO IN THE SUPERIOR COLLICULUS. NEUROSCIENCE, 164(3), 1369-1376.
- Short-latency visual input to the subthalamic nucleus is provided by the midbrain superior colliculus.. J Neurosci, 29(17), 5701-5709.
- Self-disgust mediates the relationship between dysfunctional cognitions and depressive symptomatology.. Emotion, 8(3), 379-385.
- D-amphetamine depresses visual responses in the rat superior colliculus: a possible mechanism for amphetamine-induced decreases in distractibility.. J Neural Transm (Vienna), 115(3), 377-387.
- Cocaine preferentially enhances sensory processing in the upper layers of the primary sensory cortex.. Neuroscience, 146(2), 841-851.
- How visual stimuli activate dopaminergic neurons at short latency.. Science, 307(5714), 1476-1479.
- Local injection of a glutamate uptake inhibitor into the ventral tegmental area produces sensitization to the behavioural effects of d-amphetamine.. Neuroscience, 134(2), 361-367.
- Haemodynamic responses to sensory stimulation are enhanced following acute cocaine administration.. Neuroimage, 22(4), 1744-1753.
- A direct projection from superior colliculus to substantia nigra for detecting salient visual events.. Nat Neurosci, 6(9), 974-980.
- The medial prefrontal cortex plays an important role in the excitation of A10 dopaminergic neurons following intravenous muscimol administration.. Neuroscience, 95(3), 647-656.